The wayyyyyy too brief overview of Leviticus
Leviticus is the first book of the Bible that I won’t call action-packed. Genesis and Exodus before this had great stories, leaders, and lead Moses down the Hero’s journey from exiled from Egypt to leading his people out and parting the Red Sea.
Now just because it’s not action-packed with stories, doesn’t make Leviticus any less important (some would argue more) than the first two books of the Bible.
Letiviticus, as mentioned, doesn’t have the stories of the first two books of the Bible that may keep you on the edge of your seat. But Moses’ wrote Leviticus while speaking with God.
The book in general dives deep into God’s law, decrees, and the actions that the Israelites must take in order for God to be with them in their journey.
In these laws, God introduces the two core themes of holiness and purity/cleanliness.
This is simply the fact that God is holy. And if the Israelites are to live in the presence of God, they too need to become holy, or as holy as possible being a human. This summed up in a verse where God states, “Be holy, as I am holy.” and the notion that we should strive to be like God.
And what’s the only way to be like God? To follow his word and what he places in your heart.
With these laws, it also brings to light the notion of being clean or unclean.
This is larger than just good or bad, although it may seem that way as the laws state if this is done you are clean and if this isn’t you are unclean. It also dives deep into every scenario on what should be done when someone is unclean.
But this is focused on your alignment to God. Are your everyday decisions and actions getting you closer to God (clean) or farther away from God (unclean).
And that’s a way too brief overview of Exodus. You can also check out Overview Bible as they have some tremendous high-level content on each book of the Bible or decide to dive in yourself!
But let’s dive into how to use this book and it’s teachings in our everyday lives as young adults in the 21st century!
Big Takeaway #1 – Following God before Jesus came to save us was hard man!
As mentioned in the overview, Leviticus summed up is the societal and religious rules and laws God has placed on the Israelites to make them clean, holy, and ultimately closer to God. As you become closer to God, he gets you closer to your worldly desires, the promise land for the Israelites.
And Man! Needless to say, if you’ve read the book, you know how crazy and hard these seem!
Leviticus dives into what to do when someone has an illness, skin disease, has sex with animals, or even when the offer something wrong to the Lord. You name it and God’s got a little piece of advice for the Israelites on how to stay clean and holy in his eyes.
I’ve outlined two before you so you can see for your own eyes if you haven’t read Leviticus
What to do when you’ve sinned unintentionally
Leviticus 4:27-31 – “If any member of the community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands, when they realize their guilt and the sin they have committed becomes known, they must bring as their offering for the sin they committed a female goat without defect. They are to lay their hand on the head of the sin offering and slaughter it at the place of the burnt offering. Then the priest is to take some of the blood with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and pour out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar. They shall remove all the fat, just as the fat is removed from the fellowship offering, and the priest shall burn it on the altar as an aroma pleasing to the Lord. In this way the priest will make atonement for them, and they will be forgiven.”
This is just the steps taken to for God to forgive your simple and unintentional sin! These are probably things we do on the daily basis such as stretch the truth, say negative words about someone, watch porn, etc. Now imagine how many offerings you’d have to give to the Lord?!
I know mine would be off the charts. I better be a good shepherd or hunter of goats…
What land animals are you allowed to eat
Leviticus 11:4-8 “‘There are some that only chew the cud or only have a divided hoof, but you must not eat them. The camel, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is ceremonially unclean for you. The hyrax, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you. The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you. And the pig, though it has a divided hoof, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.”
Now, this is the precautions just of land animals that walk on legs of what you can eat or touch that will keep you clean in the Lord’s eyes. He then repeats the instructions for animals without hoofs, sea creatures, birds, insects, and more.
And read that top part carefully…. Bacon was not allowed!
The big takeaways for us young adults from Leviticus’ laws
Because we all know the context that we don’t have to follow all these rules and do many of these things due to Jesus saving us, it gives a bit different perspective.
One that I think we should take as gratitude.
This book brought to light how blessed we are this day in age. Not only to have internet, food on the table, a Starbucks for your coffee addiction on every corner, but because of what Jesus did for us on the cross that day.
We all need to be thankful that this isn’t how the world is anymore. And that God has moved us past this and that he loves us all so much without having to sacrifice animals or your firstborn child. All you have to do is love him and accept him into your heart.
Big Takeaway #2 – God works best and shows himself in the rest and silence
Leviticus 25:2-4 – “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards.
Now most of us know the concept of the Sabbath. On the first 6 days, you work, as God did when he created the earth, and on the 7th day, you rest, again as God did.
But did you know that God instructed the Israelites to rest for a whole year?!
They literally weren’t allowed to plant crops, harvest, hunt, or do any activities that were sustaining their lives for a whole year!
In this day in age, it’s tough to stay seated and not do anything for a whole hour. We’re always on the go, have our phones to keep us entertained, and onto the next thing trying to get ahead. But when realistically was the last time you sat and did absolutely nothing for an hour?
But doing this and the Lord forcing the Israelites to rest for an entire year showcases a few things:
- God’s ultimate power that he can provide for anything we need in life even when it doesn’t seem possible or even when you’re sitting still.
- That blind unchanging faith leads to God showcasing his power and ultimately blessing you.
The big takeaway for us young adults from Exodus 25:2-4
When you let yourself rest and let the Lord take over your prosperity and life it shows him your true level of faith. It shows that you trust him blindly to provide. And he will exponentially more than you imagined might I add when you let him!
Secondly, it shows that sometimes you don’t need more work, you need more faith.
God’s straight-up saying in this time of rest, “No, no, no my son. Not more of you, but more of me.” Let God take the reigns or as Carrie Underwood has said let Jesus take the wheel. If he can provide for thousands of Israelites food for a whole year and in the six years prior, imagine what he can do in your life when you let him take control.